The brainchild of Rangoato Hlasane and Malose Malahlela from Keleketla! Library with support from the Goethe-Institut, Thath’i Cover Okestra invites a crew of young independent Joburg-based musicians to investigate the meaning and importance of kwaito music’s legacy for a new generation.
The project is more than just a nostalgic throwback to the heydays of post-apartheid euphoria. Rather than merely cover tracks such as Thebe’s “Sokoloko”, Thandiswa Mazwai’s “Zabalaza”, TKZee’s “Izinja Zam”, Bongo Maffin’s “Amadlozi”, Lebo’s “Ntozabantu” and other kwaito classics recorded between 1994 and 2004, Thath’i create new renditions.
Channelling kwaito’s urban syncretic electronic energy through swinging big band choirs of horn and vocal harmonies, and audacious rhythmic eruptions, the crew challenges the concept of kwaito music as an abstract entity – singular, insular and removed from community.
The result is a joyous mix of free jazz with wry 50s Sophiatown quotes, Marabi, rhythm and blues, sexy soul and edgy beats that situates kwaito within a long tradition of black music, giving voice to the pains and pleasures of history while also celebrating contemporary urbanity.
Originally put together as part of the Shoe Shop project, an urban art initiative staged in Joburg earlier this year, Thath’i Cover Okestra are now making their Cape Town début as a part of the Pan African Space Station (PASS).
The PASS performance, featuring original and new members of the okestra, will be arranged, directed and conducted by Cape Town jazz pianist Bokani Dyer. Dyer, the 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Jazz, hopes to channel the okestra’s free-wheeling energy and spontaneous creativity into a “new super nostalgic African futuristic spiritual chant non-genre”.
Tickets R50 presold from Chimurenga, Pan African Market, 76 Long Street and Tagores, 42 Trill Road, Observatory. Or call: 021 422 4168